Saturday, October 31, 2015

President of Oakland City Council replies to Marvin X--Calling all BAM artists, vendors, business persons! Be there or be square!

 Lynette McElhaney, President of the Oakland City Council, Empress Diamond and Master Teacher Marvin X

Dear Marvin,

Thank you for your note. We are going to meet with a group of artists and advocates on 11/16 to discuss the establishment of the Arts Commission. Erika will reach out to you to set up a meeting to discuss next steps on the Black Arts District. I intend to introduce legislation no later than Feb 2016 and will bring forth the Rules request next month. Looking forward to introducing you to my new policy analyst Alex. Kind regards, Lynette

Oh, Shit, Marvin X is a movie star, catch him in Stanely Nelson's film the Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution,PBS


Governor Ronald Reagan said, "Get Marvin X off campus of Fresno State University by any means necessary," as he entered the State College Board of Trustees meeting as President." At the same time he removed Angela Davis from teaching at the University of California, Los Angeles, 1969.

Fans of the Marvin X Club

Syrian poet Mohjah Khaf, invited Marvin X to speak and read at the University of Arkansas, Fayettelle, AK

Marvin X participated in the Sun Ra Conference at the University of Chicago. Marvin performed in concert with the surviving members of Sun Ra's Arkestra, Marshall Allen and Danny Thompston. Additionally, the Chicago musicians invited Marvin X to a recording session.

Probably the last picture with AB and MX, at the home of AB. They enjoyed a 47 year friend and artistic relationship. Their relationship was elder to student, comrade to comrade, uncle to nephew. For sure, MX learned from AB and AB learned from MX. Marvin X, "AB was my uncle and brother, my teacher and fellow student. And I enjoyed every moment of our 47 year relationship, including my friendship and love with Amina Baraka, AB's wife. Recently she told Marvin, "Do you realize I was pregnant with my oldest son, Obaliji, when I met you, Marvin X?" Mrs. Amina Baraka, Marvin X, Muhammida El Muhajir, Kenny Gamble
Mrs. Amina Baraka, Marvin X, MX's daughter Muhammida El Muhajir and Kenny Gamble, Master producer of the Philly Sound.

Marvin X in Harlem, NY at the reception given him by Rashidah Ishamali. Marvin X and Nuyorican poet Nancy Mercado. "Oh, Nancy, we love you and your poetry. Por favor, come to the West Coast ASAP!"

Marvin X and his muse Fahizah Alim. Her words inspire the poet. 

Marvin X replies to President of the Oakland City Council, Mrs. Lynette McElhaney

Black Bird Press News & Review: It's Marvin X time and the Black Arts ... 
 Lynette McElhaney, President of  the Oakland City Council and BAM Poet-Planner Marvin X
photo Rt. Col. Conway Jones, Jr.

Dear Lynette McElhaney, President of the Oakland City Council:

Thank you for your kind letter regarding Plan Oakland downtown. As per the Black Arts Movement Cultural and Business District, or whatever name the people decide, you know I've been awaiting your proclamation of the Black Arts Movement Culture and Economic District along the 14th Street corridor. I am not going to dwell on the actions of the past months but the now. Many years ago I was trained as a planner, so I know it is a slow process full of details, details, details. I've been ready to meet with your for several months. I don't need to produce your letters to me promising such a meeting would take place, so let's move on into the now or where do we go from here.

But you need to know while I am a planner and organizer who knows no part of no, only to go forward from the planning process to the product, I'm ready to do my part  to make Oakland's North American Africans part of Plan Oakland, even though many of us have totally lost faith in elected politicians since their pronouncements often mean absolutely nothing and they are too often at the whim of lobbyists who represent developers and financial interests who care nothing about the needs of the middle class, lower class and ethnic minorities.

Today, these interests are global rather than local or national, so their concerns are only with profits, thus they care nothing about community residents or citizens of the United States of America or any other nation. They have no emotional attachments to people or property, except for the profit motive, thus we see them grabbing land, real estate and the poor people themselves, casting them out of their neighborhoods to the winds of eternity. Surely, the day shall come when we shall flee like the Syrians, Iraqis and the valiant brothers and sisters of Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Yemen. People ask me every day, "What shall we do, where shall we go?" I can only say, maybe rubber boats to Cuba, Belize, Mexico, Columbia, Barazil is the order of the coming day. In truth, I don't have all the answers the people seek. As a sister said in a August Wilson play, "Sometimes I don't even know the questions!"

While I'm prepared to fight the good fight, even in my old age (71), many of our people are ready to throw in the white towel. After discussing the proposed Black Arts Movement District with a conscious brother, he begged me not to join the chorus of those ready to throw in the white towel. In fact, he gave me a small red, black and green flag to wave after I told him I was ready to join the chorus of those waving the white flag of surrender, even though I am not one to surrender. After all, I've suffered exile, prison and being blacklisted from jobs, especially in academia, to fight the good fight.

I am so blessed to know I stand on the shoulders of ancestors Nat Turner, David Walker, Henry Highland Garnett, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells, Booker T., Master Fard, Noble Drew Ali, Elijah, Malcolm, Martin, et al.

President McElhaney, I know you know many of those persons in your district who are ready to surrender waving the white flag. Surely you know they are no only some of the most oppressed of us, but even those we would consider the progressive bourgeoisie, the conscious bourgeoisie.

In your letter to me, you begged that we not self-exclude ourselves from the table of progress. As much as I abhor meetings (for sure, I suffer a life-long attention deficient disorder), I forced myself to attend as many of the Plan Oakland downtown meetings as I could, and stayed as long as I could, although I may have defied the community organizer's matra, "Don't leave a meeting before it's over."

Yet, I cannot understand why so many folks from our community were absent from the Plan Oakland meetings, e.g., artists, business persons, vendors, et al. But several persons said they were totally disillusioned with their situation in the morass of Oakland. Yes, they have indeed thrown in the white flag of surrender. As you suggested, I will try to revive their constitutions to get them at the next meeting when you announce it.

No one can imagine that our people are brokenhearted to the extreme, so your call to come to the table can fall on deaf ears and broken spirits. I will summon the ineluctable energy to take a stand, even if it's the last stand, to secure our space in Plan Oakland downtown.

Finally, I grew in West Oakland on 7th and Campbell, where my parents operated a florist shop. I grew up with Paul Cobb, Leon Teasley, Maxine Ussery, Ruth Beckford, C.L. Dellums, the Scott Brothers Key Shop, Percy Shoe Shine Stand, Ester's Orbit Room, John Singers, Slim Jenkins Restaurant, Lincoln Theatre, et al.

I know the importance of a North American African cultural and business district. As Paul Cobb, Publisher of the Post News Group, said, "If we move from 7th Street to 14th Street, at least we will have "doubled up" (a term from Oakland Crack culture--give me a double-up!).

So, Prez, spread my letter to your folks on your lists and I will do the same. The 14th street corridor is not written in stone. Alas, a lady from West Oakland's high rise (there is only one) begged me to set up Academy of da Corner outside the high rise where she lives. Whether we get 14th Street or another street, it is important that the valiant people of Oakland have parity and equity: cultural, political, educational, economic and spiritual.

LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats        5
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question….        10
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,        15
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,        20
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.
And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window panes;        25
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;        30
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.
In the room the women come and go        35
Talking of Michelangelo....--T.S. Elliot ---


Time to Buy Black, live Black, Love Black, Die Black!

 Stop being a victim of white supremacy capitalism and mythology
You say you Black
but you shop 100% White!
You say you Black
but the white man's ice is colder!
You say you Black
but you won't swipe your credit card 
with a Black business person
you feel "safe" going to the ATM
What about
oh, no!
You say you Black
don't call you Negro
but remember the time
Negroes had their own 
colleges  universities
night clubs
doctors lawyers
Now you Black
ain't got shit!
You so Black
you sold B.E.T.
sold Essence
sold Ebony
sold yo soul
like my friend Eldridge
Soul on Ice
Soul on Fire
Soul Out!
You so Black
yo children go to white supremacy schools
then you wonder why your son says
little miss lily is his friend
black girl at school is ugly
your daughter says she wanna
be white so tattos will show on her black skin
so Black so Black so  Black
you white white white!
Get a healing
come outta de Nile
get to Hapi!
--Marvin X

Ishmael Reed on "Django" Critics and Black Holloywood unChained

“Django” Critics Do It For the Money? The Slanders of Quentin Tarantino

Photograph: Moviestore/Rex Features.

Quentin Tarantino commits one insult after another to black Americans. His “Django Unchained,” was an insult to Black History and his comment during an interview conducted by a fawning Bret Easton Ellis (New York Times, Oct.12,2015) and Yahoo Movies (Oct.13,2015) insulted some of the country’s preeminent black scholars and intellectuals. While Spike Lee and I were singled out in an interview with Tarantino (Esquire, Oct.13, 2015), the Time’s piece questioned the motives of all of the critics of Tarantino’s “Django Unchained.”

Ellis writes: “Such controversy is not new to Tarantino. ‘If you’ve made money being a critic in black culture in the last 20 years you have to deal with me,’ he says. ‘You must have an opinion of me. You must deal with what I’m saying and deal with the consequences. ’He pauses, considers. ‘If you sift through the criticism,’ he says, ‘you’ll see it’s pretty evenly divided between pros and cons. But when the black critics came out with savage think pieces about ‘Django,’ I couldn’t have cared less. If people don’t like my movies, they don’t like my movies, and if they don’t get it, it doesn’t matter.”
The New York Times considers Quentin Tarantino to be a “great” filmmaker even though blacks find some of his films be offensive, but this wouldn’t be the first time that the Times (where I get published from time to time even though my last four books have been ignored by the Book Review) assessment of a film, art, or literature has clashed with that of black critics. Here’s the Times’ review of “Gone With The Wind,” which is one of the antecedents of the Tarantino Race films:
“Understatement has its uses too, so this morning’s report on the event of last night will begin with the casual notation that it was a great show. It ran, and will continue to run, for about 3 hours and 45 minutes, which still is a few days and hours less than its reading time and is a period the spine may protest sooner than the eye or ear. It is pure narrative, as the novel was, rather than great drama, as the novel was not. By that, we would imply you will leave it, not with the feeling you have undergone a profound emotional experience, but with the warm and grateful remembrance of an interesting story beautifully told. Is it the greatest motion picture ever made? Probably not, although it is the greatest motion mural we have seen and the most ambitious film-making venture in Hollywood’s spectacular history.” (By FRANK S. NUGENT Published: December 20, 1939)
This is the newspaper where Virginia Heffernan added to the tributes made by the newspaper to “The Wire,” which scapegoats blacks for the drug trade. She called the show’s writers Richard Price, George Pelecanos and David Simon, “The Lords of Urban Fiction,” a genre to which black writers, including Chester Himes, have contributed since the migration of blacks to the cities in the late 1800s. “The Wire” is being taught in college class rooms even though Prof. Karl Alexander in his book Long Shadow, The: Family Background, Disadvantaged Urban Youth, and the Transition to Adulthood cautions that David Simon’s portrayal of the Baltimore community that appears in “The Wire” is “one-sided.”

A “Wire” actress has a less favorable review of “The Wire” than the white students who are signing up for courses on “The Wire” and their cynical professors who are taking advantage of their fascination with black pathology. These are students who throw racist hood parties where they sometimes show up wearing blackface. Actress Sonja Sohn said of the series on Melissa Harris-

blk hlywd

Perry’s show, (5/2/2015) ”The Wire” conveys the impression that people don’t care about their neighborhoods,” and that “all of them are lazy and just allow their neighborhoods to go dilapidated.” HBO executives, some of whom have gotten into trouble for their criminal behavior against women,  have hired “Wire” creator David Simon to produce a series about Martin Luther King, Jr., the kind of news that makes exile seem appealing.

Esquire (Oct.13), and Yahoo Movies (Oct.13) singled Spike Lee and me as those who according to Tarrantino “don’t get it.” The director said,“If they don’t get it, it doesn’t matter.” In the Times review Tarrantino said that those black critics who didn’t like the movie were making money from their dissent. I earned seventy-five dollars from my review of the film in The Wall Street Journal, which certainly made a big difference in my income during the year in which the review appeared. I tried to point out unsuccessfully to the Times, which has a romance going on with Tarantino and David Simon, that the leading defender of the film, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., made more money than all of Tarantino’s critics combined. Since Spike Lee and I had been singled out as the chief complainers, I wrote a letter in my defense. (Oct.26, 2015)
Dear Times,
Quentin Tarantino implies that those black critics of his movie,”Django Unchained,” criticized the movie for the money. I’m sure that those critics, among whom are some of the leading African American scholars, and intellectuals, who appear in the anthology that I edited, “Black Hollywood unChained,” would be surprised to hear this.
Third Word Press, which published the book, paid each writer one hundred dollars.
It was Tarantino’s most influential black supporter who got paid. He appeared on NPR where he supported the movie, without informing his interviewer that his magazine had received ad revenue from the film company.
Thank You
My name came up when Henry Louis Gates, Jr. defended the film on NPR without informing the host that his magazine TheRoot received advertising revenue for “Django UNChained,” which also might explain why it was selected as a course topic at the African American Studies Department at Harvard.
My letter to the Times wasn’t published. Beginning in 2013, after getting the go-ahead from Haki Madhubuti, publisher of Third World Press, I began gathering contributors to an anthology that was published in October under the title Black Hollywood unChained, where some of our leading black academic critics, who are well known abroad, but largely ignored by the mainstream media, scrutinize Django Unchained, as well as Precious, Selma, Fruitvale and other films. Not all of the contributors are black. Italian-American, Muslim, Native American, and Hispanic scholars also criticize the treatment of their ethnic groups by Hollywood. The late Hariette Surovell, the great Jewish-American intellectual, pens the most devastating criticism of the film ”Precious” yet written. Some of the leading African-American scholars and intellectuals contributed to the anthology, apparently because they were so hard up for the one hundred dollar permission fee, as Tarantino would have it.

Third World Press is the only publisher who would have presented the dissent of those black scholars and intellectuals. With a press like Third World Press, we get to sass. As it stands now, writers who’ve never been subjected to racial profiling, or all of the other humiliations that blacks undergo each day, monopolize the discussion of race. They write the scripts, the novels, the newspaper stories and the Op-ed columns whose purpose is to attract money by demeaning blacks. Nichols Kristof gets more space to comment on race, often in a condescending manner or by driving a wedge between so-called proper “model minorities” and backward blacks, than any two hundred black scholars and intellectuals. In the 1940s, there were hundreds of Third World Presses. So subversive was the black newspapers in the 1940s that J. Edgar Hoover wanted to indict them for sedition. Integration had benefits, but there also has been a downside. School integration has led to thousands of black kids gaining arrest records for the most trivial classrooms offenses. Some of them are brutally assaulted by the police. (“In August, a school district in Kentucky was sued over an officer shackling children ages 8 and 9.

Since the early 1990s, thousands of school systems around the country have put officers in schools, most often armed and in uniform, while many schools have adopted ‘zero tolerance policies for misconduct. That has produced sharp increases in arrests, especially for minor offenses, giving criminal records to students who in the past might have faced nothing more serious than after-school detention.” Oct.28 Times) Integration also led to the decline of the black press as some of its most brilliant writers were hired by newspapers with Jim Crow newsrooms, where their power has been diminished.

With “Black Hollywood unChained,” Third World Press has provided readers with a rare opportunity to sample the opinions of Black Intellectuals who are not auditioning to become proxies for powerful northeastern interests.

Ishmael Reed is the author of The Complete Muhammad Ali.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Fresno: Self-Help Credit Union grand opening

Join us as we celebrate our new Fresno Branch with a Ribbon Cutting.


Join Us!

Self-Help Federal Credit Union, in Partnership with Fresno EOC, cordially invites you to help us celebrate our new Fresno Branch with a Grand Opening and Annual Member Meeting.  We are pleased to be joined by local dignitaries, partners and supporters.
It just won’t be the same without you!

Thursday, November 19, 2015
5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
5150 E. Kings Canyon Road, Suite 109.
Fresno, CA  93727

This is a great chance to see our new location, learn more about our mission, meet our staff, and join in Annual Meeting highlights.


About Self-Help Federal Credit Union: Self-Help Federal Credit Union, chartered in 2008, has combined with eight credit unions serving diverse California communities in the Bay Area, Central Valley and Los Angeles. Self-Help Federal currently operates over 20 California branches and offers a full range of financial products and services in addition to financing personal, vehicle, mortgage and business loans, and a dynamic online and mobile banking system . For more information visit:

About Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission: For over 47 years, Fresno EOC, a private, nonprofit organization, provides opportunities and resources to low-income Fresno County residents. Fresno EOC offers over 30 comprehensive community-based programs that empower individuals to thrive as healthy, self-sufficient and contributing members of our communities. For more information visit:

Our mailing address is:
Self-Help Federal Credit Union
2504 Tenaya Drive
Modesto, CA 95354

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Hapi b day, Jazmin and Jordan, grandchildren of Marvin X

 Jordan and Jazmin, grandchildren of Marvin X



Jordan and Dad, Marvin K 

Jordan, Jazmin
stepmother Mary Ann, father Marvin K. Jackmon

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Review: Talking Back: Voices of Color

Monday, September 7, 2015

And, The Workers Say

Talking Back: Voices of Color
Nellie Wong, editor
Red Letter Press
240 pages
ISBN: 978-0-9323223-32-3

Given the recent reports on desperate conditions for service workers throughout the United States, there is no better way to honor Labor Day than to propose you check out Talking Back: Voices of Color. The work offers readers insights into the United States from laborers and a broad assembly of those who see life from the streets instead of ivory towers. The text might be ideal as a reader for writing students, because the commentaries are easily readable and well edited. It is also a chance to hear more from those who live daily with consequences of the social, political and economic policies rather than the competitive cries of paid pundits. Any adult interested in the honest exploration of views on those issues from a wide range of Americans - native-born and immigrant, different genders, races, sexual orientations, ages, and disabilities - is bound to find enlightenment in this essay collection edited by poet Nellie Wong. I did.

If you are closed to the views of those sectors of society, or prone to be biased against the fact that the group behind it is largely socialist, the work provides a chance for openness. No? Then it will not appeal to you.

Talking Back was - and is - a potent force, a crucial step in understanding that race oppression, sex discrimination, abusive bosses, income inequality, poverty, homelessness, and never-ending war were systemic, institutionalized under capitalism to wreak havoc on our political, working and creative lives.

Wong writes that in the introduction as the key lesson learned through the transformation she underwent in the 1970s. As a Chinese woman, she was raised to be silent about her views. The Oakland writer says that as she listened to the many voices of those shunted aside in society she began to grasp that speaking out was a path to change.

Talking Back: Voices of Color is filled with testimony on trending topics as diverse as immigration reform, the Mexican Border, police violence, the Middle East crisis, and workers’ rights. Most of the statements are less than 1,000 words, yet the writers use of facts and reflection give them punch. Interested readers will find themselves saying, “I didn’t know that,” over and over as the commentaries organized under chapter headings such as, “The border crossed us,” make it easier to hone in on the subjects of greatest interest. For example in Chapter 7, “Shaking it up,” retired Teamster Ann Rogers’ contribution, “Still working after 80: Social Security and me,” pulled me into the book. Her plight is one to which many retired Baby Boomers can relate.

 “The cost of living skyrocketed over two decades, my Social Security did not,” she explains in the dissection of a government benefit system that provides no comfort to many elderly. At 82, the Chippewa woman still works daily, “because I unfortunately also need food, clothes, medicine, a car, gas, and car repairs.” Rogers makes readers consider how the system doles out Social Security compensation. She talks about the general procedure, then asks readers to think about what that might be like for a working single parent.

A Social Security pension is based on an average of a person’s lifetime earnings. That means low-wage workers get smaller payouts. Rogers started as a waitress then worked for Sears. Her employer’s retirement rested on company stock. When those prices dropped like a boulder off a cliff in the recession in the late 1970s, and she was laid off at age 60, there was little to hope for except Social Security. “The highest 30 years of my wages were averaged to figure my benefit,” she states, then contrasts her underfunded fate with what will happen to those who will have to cope with the even more restrictive policies today.

Now wages are averaged over 35 years, and that is sure to include the low wages most people start out making. For many women, unaffordable childcare means they have to take time off work when their kids are young, and they don’t have 35 years’ worth of wage history. 

In the overall, the book is an unsubtle critique of capitalism. The work’s tone is not negative, however. This would be good for personal enrichment or to share with senior high or college writing students to open their eyes to ideas that differ from is usually published in essay collections. Most of the Talking Back authors are literate, yet not professional writers. Their political perspectives are far left of liberal or centrist perspectives found in my social anthologies, and that is one of the reasons the book provokes thought. The voices of color are a clarion call for change.

Poem: Appalling Silence by Neal Hall, M.D.

New York, N.Y.  Appalling Silence is the featured poem of Dr. Neal Hall’s third book of poetry titled Appalling Silence. The book represents new work composed during his poet/scholar-in-residency in Hyderabad, India  and, selections of poems from his first two books – Nigger For Life and Winter’s A’ Coming Still.
Neal Hall, M.D. Hi Res 
Neal Hall, M.D., Poet.
Appalling Silence
it is not the night,
but the absence of light
it’s not the sweltering fervor of the desert
but the rainfall that fails to fall
it is not humanity that loses its humanity
taking, denying humanity from its fellow man but,
humanity that fails to find its humanity
fighting back to give back to grant back
humanity seen, taken, denied its fellow man
it is not the strident clamor nor the vitriolic voices
of the bad people, but the appalling silence
of those who claim to be the good people [1]
it is not the night,
but the absence of light
that keeps us in the dark
and in that darkness we must remember not
the words of our enemies, but
the silence of our friends [2]
Poems in Appalling Silence have been translated into Telugu and Urdu by three of India’s finest and accomplished poets: Jameela Nishat (Urdu), Volga (Telugu) and Vasanth Kannabiran (Urdu, Telugu and English).

Hyderabad’s Council For Social Development lead by Kalpana Kannabiran sponsored the poet/scholar residency, created, published and launched the book this past July in India.
It is the silence of the good people that has caused the most damage to our humanity.
[1] Martin Luther King
[2] ibid
Neal Hall, M.D., Poet
Dr. Neal Hall is a medical-surgical eye physician and graduate of Cornell and Harvard Universities. An internationally acclaimed poet, he has performed poetry readings throughout the United States and internationally to include: Kenya, Indonesia, France, Jamaica, Morocco, Canada, Nepal, Italy and India.

His poetry speaks not just to the surface pain of injustice and inhumanity but deep into that pain, we label and package into genteel socio-political-economic-religious constructs to blur the common lines of cause, that is our shared story. A shared story that should unite us in a common struggle to be free.

Dr. Hall is an award-winning author of four books of poetry:
Nigger For Life, reflecting his painful discovery, that in “unspoken America,” race is the one thing by which he is first judged, first measured and metered diminished value, dignity, equality and justice.

Winter’s A’ Coming Still reflecting poignantly the more things are said to change, the more things are made to stay the same. His third book. Where Do I Sit. will be released this summer 2015. Appalling Silence – selections of his work – has been translated into Telugu and Urdu and published in India.

The intellectual and philosopher Cornel West, Ph.D., said of Dr. Hall “ [he] is a warrior of the spirit, a warrior of the mind, an activist, a poet. I sense Dr. Hall’s hypersensitivity to suffering – Martin, Malcolm and Jesus all had this hypersensitivity. Both sides of his soul have prophetic leanings. His poetry has the capacity to change ordinary people’s philosophy on social and racial issues.”

India’s Vasanth Kannabiran, Chairperson, Asmita Resource Centre for Women, remarked:This is poetry that scalds you into waking up to the possibility that you are perhaps one of those silent spectators. All in all he is a poet. And unquestionably one of the most significant voices of the century. ”

Black Man flees to Canada to escape racist police


Black Man Seeks Asylum In Canada Because He Feels Racism Puts His Life In Danger [WATCH]

Hundreds of years ago, slaves sought the North Star to point them in the direction of Northern states and Canada so they they could escape a live of slavery and degradation. Now a Black American is trying to do the same by seeking refugee status in Canada claiming that he’s in danger in America because of his race. reports: 

Kyle Lydell Canty, 30, crossed into B.C.’s Lower Mainland in early September of 2015, telling border agents that he was here to visit and take photographs, but once in Vancouver decided he would apply to remain as a refugee.

“I’m in fear of my life because I’m black,” he told IRB member Ron Yamauchi in a hearing on October 23rd in Vancouver. “This is a well-founded fear.”

Canty argues that black people are “being exterminated at an alarming rate” in the U.S. and included examples such as the shooting of Michael Brown in Missouri and the death of Eric Garner in New York City at the hands of police.

Canty represented himself at the hearing, which he applied to have made public, and was commended by Yamauchi at its conclusion, who said Canty had put together a “well prepared case … and argued it as well as it could be.”

Kyle Canty had his IRB hearing in Vancouver on October 23, 2015, when he represented himself. (CBC)

Canty submitted a significant evidence package to the IRB including videos, media reports and the UNHCR’s handbook on determining refugee status.

In order for someone to be called a refugee in Canada, they must prove they are in danger in their home country, “that you’re someone with a well-founded fear of persecution in your country, based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.” said Melissa Anderson. who speaks for the IRB.

Born in New York, Canty has lived in six different states before arriving in Canada, a country he says he’s never been to before.

He told the IRB that in every state he resided, police have harassed him and targeted him because of his race.

As part of evidence submitted to the board, Canty edited together multiple point-of-view videos of his interaction with police, including one where he was arrested for trespass in Salem, Oregon, when he spent two hours talking on the phone and using free Wi-Fi at a bus station.

“I got bothered because I’m black,” he said. “This is a history of false arrest. My name is ruined because of the false arrest.”

The CBC reports that Canty, currently living in a Canadian homeless shelter, has several outstanding warrants in the U.S. for jaywalking, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. He say he would like to own a photography business and teach martial arts. Although he was told that he presented his case quite expertly, the odds are against him. Canada only allows 10 U.S. citizens to claim refugee status each year.
Does Canty have a point, or is he just finding a creative way to escape the U.S.? 
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President of the Oakland City Council, Lynette McElhaney, replies to Marvin X on BAM District

Lynette McElhaney
 Lynette McElhaney, President of the Oakland City Council


We need African Americans to show up and lean in to this process.  Sitting outside the building looking in at the process but not weighing in means people are self-excluding.  We ought not be satisfied with being victimized as your post suggests.  We have power.  We have influence.....if we will wield it.

The announcements for this plan have been placed in the newspaper, sent out on social media, announced by the Councilmembers, placed on blogs, ads in the Post, and mailed to those who live in the area.  Additional outreach through the professional associations.

You are a leader.  It would be fantastic to have you lead people into the meeting, bring them with you and weigh in.  I have negotiated an extension of the comment period.  Everyone who is interested should go online and make their comments.  And as soon as we secure a date/location, I am bringing the cherette team to a West Oakland location since much of what residents have asked me to do is to re-connect West Oakland to downtown, provide better shopping and job opportunities for local residents.

No process is perfect.  I have plenty of complaints about how the City of Oakland runs.  But I also, as a citizen and now as an elected, have to hold myself accountable.  The American system is supposed by to a system by the people, for the people.  This means that the people have to do their part to read, connect, weigh in and stay informed and spread the word.

Please be sure to continue to amplify your voices.  Let us know what you want to see in the plan (be sure to go online where the information is being captured)

Let's all be about manifesting the outcome we desire.  Let's not permit our collective injury from past violations keep us from using our voices in a constructive way.  This plan is not being built in the backroom.  It's in front of you.  You know about it.  So, do like the folk who showed up last night - get involved.  Speak up.  Stand up.  Lean in.  And, do your part to make sure the voices of our people are heard - not shouting from outside the building; come take a seat at the table and let's get this done.

Thank you, Lynette

Notes from Marvin X on Plan Oakland Meeting at Paramount Theatre

<b>Downtown</b> <b>Oakland</b> Ca

If last nights Plan Oakland meeting at the Paramount Theatre is an indication of the role North American Africans will play in the City of Oakland, we are in deep deep trouble. Whites were the majority present so we know, despite pronouncements to the contrary, it is very likely their plans for the future of this city will prevail and predominate.

After spending over two hours at the event to discuss Plan Oakland, there was almost no mention of a plan for North American Africans in the downtown area, although we are proposing the Black Arts Movement Culture and Economic District for the 14th Street corridor.

In her remarks, Lynette McElhaney, President of the Oakland City Council, did announce an upcoming meeting with Black artists, although the comment period had expired. She has extended the comment period so our views can be included. Ironically, President McElhaney had promised to proclaim the Black Arts Movement District once she was inaugurated in January. We are perhaps guilty of not keeping pressure on her to fulfill her promise.

We know power concedes nothing without demands, especially when politicians discover other priorities. So we shall see if President McElhaney will get back on track with the proposal for the Black Arts Movement District. As she noted in her remarks, if you don't have a plan, others will have one for you. Thus, it would be wise for Oakland's North American Africans to attend the upcoming meeting for our input, otherwise the Plan Oakland for the downtown area will not include us, as per p usual.

At the Paramount, two Black developers gave a slide presentation and decried the minimal input of North American African expertise in building the downtown area in particular and the general development of Oakland. Yet he tell of how his mentor, Tom Berkley, developed the first container port in America at the Port of Oakland.

In short, unless we step to the front of the line and make some noise, don't expect inclusion in Plan Oakland for the downtown area or any other part of Oakland. As you know, we are being gentrified from the city limits, although there was mention of plans for housing development that included below market rate residences.

It was suggested Oakland follow the San Francisco proposition for a moratorium on development and evictions in the Mission District. It was suggested Oakland have a proposition O to slow gentrification, although we know gentrification is occurring coast to coast as whites invade traditional minority neighborhoods to grab land and real estate, displacing the ghetto residents with that great pseudo white liberal smile. They will even claim to support Black Lives Matter while simultaneously grabbing all the ghetto real estate or forcing eviction with insane rent increases. We understand the only reason San Francisco's Tenderloin District has not suffered gentrification is only due to community organization. North American Africans in Oakland must get organized or you will be displaced!
--Marvin X, Planner
Black Arts Movement

Please sign this petition: Black Arts Movement Cultural District for downtown Oakland

Harlem Fine Arts Show Returns to Chicago

Harlem Fine Arts Show Returns to Chicago

The beautiful sculptures of master artist Woodrow Nash one of the artist who has participated i the HFAS
The beautiful sculptures of master artist Woodrow Nash one of the artist who has participated i the HFAS

Harlem Fine Arts Show returns to Merchandise Mart October 29 – Nov. 1 

2nd Annual event recognizes Chicago art, civic and business  community while offering the finest in African American art

Highly regarded as the largest traveling African Diaspora art show and sale in the United States, Harlem Fine Arts Show returns to Chicago’s Merchandise Mart October 29 through November 1 to celebrate Chicago’s Artist month. The Harlem Fine Arts Show (HFAS) is the largest traveling African art show of its kind in the United States. Since its inception in 2009, it has had over 60,000 plus visitors, traveled to more than 10 cities as well as showcased more than 100 artists and galleries.  HFAS track record has proven its ability to bring people of all different backgrounds together in celebration of the fine arts of the African Diaspora and the artists who create it.  Inspired by the Harlem Renaissance, HFAS provides a platform for visionaries of African descent as well as American visual artists to exhibit and sell their artwork. The Harlem Fine Arts Show provides economic empowerment, educational opportunities, and professional recognition within the multicultural community. 

The Harlem Fine Arts Show Opening Night Gala Reception Takes place this evening Thursday October 29 at 6 p.m. benefitting the North Shore (IL) Chapter, The Links Incorporated. The event will also recognize leaders in the Chicago arts community.

The amazing success of HFAS first event in Chicago last year sealed the deal for its return this year. According to Dion Clarke, founder of the Harlem Fine Art Show, “Harlem in New York City and Bronzeville in Chicago are two of the most celebrated African-American communities in the world. Chicago has one of the most sophisticated and arts savvy Black community compared to any marked by the artist community here and its supporters.”   

Black people by Frank Fraizer
                            ‘Black People’ by Frank Fraizer

We are excited to be returning to Chicago’s Merchandise Mart this fall to close out Chicago Artist Month with this celebrated show and sale.”

According to the book Black Chicago Renaissance edited by Darlene Clark Hine and John

Contemporary images by Brenda Joysmith
                                 Contemporary images by Brenda Joysmith

McCluskey, “…the cultural outpouring that distinguished Harlem in the 20s swept through Chicago in the 30s bringing with it a prolific period of African American creativity in music, performance art, social science scholarship and visual and literary artistic expression.”

Friday, October 30 is designated Youth Empowerment Day when CPS students will participate in tours and seminars from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The show opens to the public at 6 p.m. with a Salute to Multi-Cultural Business recognizing Chicago’s African American business leaders. Honorees for Friday include Veranda Dickens, Board Chair, Seaway Bank & Trust; Louis Dodd, Allstate Insurance Premier Agency; Merry Green, MGPG Events, Inc.; Monica Haslip, Executive Director Little Black Pearl; Norma J. Williams of NJW Consulting and media executive Abe Thompson also a minority owner of the Chicago Sky basketball team. 

Saturday, October 31 the show opens to the public at 10 a.m. The Author’s Pavilion will be open from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m., followed by the Arts Lecture Series from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Invited artists include Faheem Majeed, Hebru Brantley, Ted Ellis, photographer Dawoud Bey and others. The day will end with an Artistic Halloween Masquerade Ball and Steppers Set from 7 p.m. – 2 a.m. Tickets to the Ball and Steppers Set are available separately.

Saturday, October 31, “Discussions by the Lake”, a thought provoking open forum about real issues facing the African American community, will be held on  from 4 – 6 p.m. This discussion is quickly becoming a staple of the Harlem Fine Art Show with the most recent event held in Washington, D.C. this September. The Forum engages people of all races, ages, colors, creeds, and sexual orientations in discussions about social justice and how they can make a difference in their communities. The topic “Where do WE go from here?” addresses the current landscape of race relations, police brutality and lack of living wages facing t multicultural communities across the United States.

Moderating this discussion will be Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Jr., former executive director of the NAACP and current head of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA). Invited panelist include Maudlyne Ihejirika, award winning Chicago Sun Times reporter; Arlene Coleman, president of the Cook County Bar Association; artist Raymond Thomas and Princeton Professor Omar Wasow.

Sunday, November 1 the show will open from noon – 6 p.m. and feature a Jazz brunch and performances by noted Chicago Gospel Choir


The 2015 Harlem Fine Art Show is sponsored by United Airlines, Country Financial and Morgan Stanley. Half price tickets are available at Walgreens locations across the Chicagoland region and first time customers to the ride sharing app Lyft can receive a $20 credit by using the code HFAS2015.
Visit for more information or to purchase tickets and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #hfaschi.

About The Harlem Fine Art Show
First held in February 2010 in New York City, the Harlem Fine Arts Show has attracted more than 60,000 visitors since its inception. HFAS debuted in Chicago in 2014. Attendees include collectors, art enthusiasts, educators, students, and professionals.

Over 80 nationally and internationally known artist, including Leroy Campbell, Paul Goodnight, Michael Escoffery, Frank Frazier, Woodrow Nash, Dane Tilghman, Brenda Joysmith, and Glenn Tunstull have been a part of the show. In addition, highly regarded known arts establishments including Louisville’s E&S Gallery, Water Kolours Fine Art in Memphis, and New York’s Savacou Gallery have also contributed works to the show.